It’s certainly not breaking news anymore that the Navy SEALS found a large cache of porn in Osama Bin Laden’s compound. But i haven’t had a spare moment to post on the thoughts that have been pinging round in my head since i heard about it.
While he had railed against the West for its loose morality regarding the way women dress and appear in movies and advertising, Osama was indulging himself. It got me thinking: he’s more like the rest of us than he probably would have cared to admit. He led a double life. Most Christian men can relate to that.
Osama adhered to a code that lacked any real value in restraining sensual indulgence. Osama created the appearance of wisdom and piety, but the reality beneath that pose was something else. Lots of Christian men are actually in a similar situation.
Again, this is who we once were. And often we are tempted to return to that sort of duplicity. The Biblical call is to authenticity and integrity: our inner and outer lives need to match.
But where does the power for that authenticity and integrity come from?
Paul says in Col. 2:20-23 that just telling yourself “not” to do something isn’t going to get you very far. It’s a bit like someone saying: “Don’t think about a pink elephant.” Rather than preventing you from doing it, you actually start thinking about that very thing.
Paul explains that regulations have the appearance of spirituality and wisdom, but they lack any power in restraining sensual indulgence.
We talked about this at our recent gathering of WarriorPoets.
What we need is what Paul offers next in Colossians: set your hearts on things above and put to death what belongs to the earthly nature.
Col. 3:1-8 makes it clear that self-imposed rules, based on human commands the the basic principles of this world won’t help us with sexual immorality, greed, idolatry and the like.
The only answer is to put those things to death when they rise in our flesh. It is the constant call for us as men dealing with addiction to pornography, lust and masturbation: Pick up the sword and slay the dragon that seeks to devour you.